Button leads the race

Just a quick line, as the quali ends for Italy, to make a prediction for the race.  I think Button will lead the race at some point; he seems to be on a one-stop strategy, so when everyone else comes into the pits for the first time, Button will be left leading.
No news on the F1 Drivers’ Challenge Round 1 yet.  I’ll email them soon.
No other racing news for me at the moment.  Baby is taking a lot of our time (she’s doing very well at the moment).  Hope to be karting at the end of Sept.

Outstanding Hamilton

I know the quali has just started for USA, but I wanted to get a quick post in to say how impressed I am with Hamilton's maiden win in Canada.

Even four safety cars couldn't give the other drivers a chance to beat him. Simply a brilliant drive.

Another amazing thing was the strength of Kubica's car. His 50g crash left him without injury.

Senna and Roland Ratzenberger has similar accidents in Italy in the 90s and both died.

It's a fantastic achievement for the people responsible for F1 safety. Without their outstanding work, maybe Kubica would be dead too.

Adverts have finished, so back to Canada quali.

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Canadian GP TV schedule

According to the ITV website, this the TV schedule for this weekend's Canadian Grand Prix. Check your digital listing nearer the day for any changes, as ITV are prone to mess us around.

Live Quali, Sat 9th, 1730 – 1930 on ITV4 (not ITV1)
Quali re-run, Sat 9th, 2340 – 0110 on
Race, Sun 10th, 1700 – 2000 on ITV1
Highlights, Sun 10th, 2345 – 0045 on ITV1
Highlights re-run, Mon 11th, 1800 – 1900 on ITV4.

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Hamilton told not to race to win at Monaco

Mclaren have admitted that Lewis Hamilton was told during the race that he should follow Fernando Alonso to the flag.

Norbert Haug confirmed that there are no team orders, and that the drivers are free to race most of the time, but Monaco is not one of those times.

I agree. Alsonso was clearly faster than Hamilton, and there was no point in risking both drivers' races with an accident. Had Hamilton been ahead of Alonso, he would have been allowed to win.

This is not the same as the team orders debacles of the past (Ferrari et al), where a winning driver was told to slow to allow his team-mate to pass.

The FIA said that what happened at Monaco was "entirely legitimate and no further action is necessary".

F1 is a business. The team's performance is more important than the individual driver. That, arguably, is bad for the sport and that's why the rules were changed in 2002 to prevent 'result-altering team orders'.

No-one would have been more happy then me to see Hamilton win at Monaco, but McLaren made the right decision.

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McLaren Monaco Perfection

Alonso wins – back-to-back victories at Monaco.

Hamilton finishes second after a good drive. He gives up his 100% winning record at Monaco, but maintains his 100% F1 Podium Finishes.

Alonso stamped his authority over Hamilton and sealed the victory way before the first stop; even though Hamilton drove the wheels off his McLaren and put in some excellent times, Alonso showed he was faster (0.3 seconds) to prove to the team he was quicker. After that, the message went out from the McLaren team that “We’ve got one-two, and the fastest driver is winning. Don’t race each other, protect the cars, and bring them home safely”.

Ferrari were nowhere close, with Massa finishing 65 seconds behind Hamilton. Massa was the only driver on the same lap as the McLarens. Raikkonen had a good race, but his lousy grid position meant only a single point.

Other drivers of note:
Fisichella had a steady race, starting 4th and finishing 4th.
Scott Speed had a fantastic start and a good race generally.
Wurz finished 7th from 11th on the grid.
Kubica 5th from 8th, the best of the one-stoppers.
Barrichello and Button at Honda, although they finished one place down each, must be pleased that the Hondas had a respectable race.

So, the Drivers’ Championship standings are:
Alonso 38 (leading by virtue of more race wins)
Hamilton 38
Massa 33
Raikkonen 23
Heidfeld 18
Fisichella 13
Kubica 12
Rosberg 5

Constructors’ Championship
McLaren 76
Ferrari 56
BMW Sauber 30
Renault 16
Williams 7
Toyota 5
Red Bull 4
Super Aguri 1

Quali news, and was Coulthard’s penalty incorrect?

I just finished watching Quali and checking the F1 news.

Alonso and Hamilton are on different fuel strategies (as confirmed by Ron Dennis), so presumably Hamilton will go longer than Alonso. With any luck he'll lead after Alonso's first stop, or better still, beat Alonso into the first corner.

Coulthard starts 13th, not 16th. Two other F1 websites say that basically he was classified 11th then penalised two places. This doesn't make sense to me, as he would have been 10th or better if he had been allowed to take part in Q3, then the two place penalty would put him 12th at worst. Therefore the two-place penalty is actually three (or more) places.

The fact that the stewards prevented him for starting Q3 also prevented any opportunity of effective appeal, as Coulthard's penalty was immediate and irreversible, unlike an infringement during Q3 where the stewards would have longer to decide on an appropriate penalty.

I'm not saying Coulthard shouldn't have been penalised. By his own admission, there was a communication problem and he thought that Kovalainen wasn't on a hot lap. What I'm saying is, I think the steward's decision to put Button into Q3 instead of Coulthard was wrong.

The silver lining is that Button starts 10th, and the Hondas seem well set up for a change.

Getting back to Hamilton, I think he will win if it's dry. He's quick, and so is the car. I just hope he doesn't get overconfident.

Hamilton's leading the Championship, he has a 100% win record at Monaco, he's starting on the front row of the grid, and arguably he's the quickest in final quali when you take into account fuel load. He's on a roll.

His sideways final lap showed good car control, but there's no room for error when driving like that (and it doesn't do the tyres any good). I'm worried that he might make a mistake and at Monaco that will be costly.

If it rains, Hamilton should be more cautious and go for steady points, even if that means an Alonso Win. Either way, it will be a good race.

Hamilton has always won at Monaco

Hamilton is leading the championship?!

I still haven't had time to watch the Spanish Grand Prix and I managed to avoid hearing the results until today. But now I've heard that Lewis in Championship leader. Fantastic. More than that, he has won every Monaco race in his career before F1. This is going the be great.

Sadly, I'll miss live qualiying because we have to go wedding clothes shopping today. My sister Julie gets married to Mark in two weeks time (big smile), so new suits all round!

I doubt I'll be able to see the (taped) quali and make a post before the race, so if anyone has any comments on the quali, please submit them and I'll publish them before the race. Thanks.

Qualifying Results

Raikkonen takes pole, Hamilton 4th on the 2nd row. Kubica 5th, Davidson 11th, Button 14th, Barrichello 17th, and Coulthard 19th.
Easy for Raikkonen.  That Ferrari is so well set up.
Alonso had a job beating Hamilton.  In fact, he was slower in Session 1, and had to go out again in Session 2 to post a better time than Hamilton.
It looks like Massa had a transmission failure after hitting the kerb hard.
My prediction is a Raikkonen win, with Alonso and Hamilton in the top 5.
Here’s tomorrow’s grid, and the quali times.
1.  RAIKKONEN – Ferrari1m26.072s
2.  ALONSOMcLaren1m26.493s
3.  HEIDFELDBMW1m26.556s
4.  HAMILTONMcLaren1m26.755s
5.  KUBICABMW1m27.347s
6.  FISICHELLARenault1m27.634s
7.  WEBBERRed Bull1m27.934s
8.  TRULLIToyota1m28.404s
9.  SCHUMACHERToyota1m28.692s
10. SATOSuper Aguri1m28.871s
11. DAVIDSONSuper Aguri1m26.909s
12. ROSBERGWilliams1m26.914s
13. KOVALAINENRenault1m26.964s
14. BUTTONHonda1m27.264s
15. WURZWilliams1m27.393s
16. MASSAFerrarino time
17. BARRICHELLOHonda1m27.679s
18. SPEEDToro Rosso1m28.305s
19. COULTHARDRed Bull1m28.579s
20. LIUZZIToro Rosso1m29.267s
21. SUTILSpyker1m29.339s
22. ALBERSSpyker1m31.932s